Oprah visits Denmark

We think of it as civilized, not socialist.

When I first came to the US, I was surprised – and still am- when I realized how some people there use the word socialist. First, as if it refers to one thing when it can be used in so many different ways. Then, as something unquestionably undesirable. And finally, as a curse word!

Since it can refer to so many different systems, the word itself is not very useful unless specified. When it comes to social-democracies, as we have in Scandinavia, these countries usually come up close to or at the top when it comes to the different measures of quality of life. Maybe it is a good idea to take a pragmatic look, instead of being blinded by ideologies and misinformation.

A social safety-net, as we have here, not only benefits those of us who needs it – and that can easily be any one of us. It benefits society as a whole. One difference I notice is a baseline of fear in the US, and a baseline of trust here.

2 thoughts to “Oprah visits Denmark”

  1. I wonder how ethnic diversity in Denmark compares with that in the US. Because people find it much easier to care for each other when we perceive the “others” as being like ourselves, I would guess that in ethnically homogeneous societies it is much easier to find the political will to establish social safety-nets than in societies with a high degree of social and ethnic diversity. Diversity, it would seem, comes at a price.

  2. Yes, I think that is one of many explanations.

    Also… historically, the Scandinavian countries have had a strong socialist influence, while the US have had strong anti-socialist tendencies for a long time. In the US, there are strong money-interests against universal health care, and they are able to influence how (some) view it. The US media doesn’t always do a good job cracking down on misinformation on these topics. And a portion of people in the US are not well informed about how things are in other countries.

    I also wonder about countries like Brazil that have a diverse ethnic population, and (for instance) universal health care. It seems that diversity doesn’t always mean an “everyone for themselves” mentality.

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